One of the ongoing controversies this election season, argued by both sides, is regarding voting by mail. President Trump has argued that mail voting is rife with fraud. Democrats, on the other hand, have accused Republicans of being so afraid of voting by mail that they are interfering with the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Republicans are afraid of voting by mail because of the potential for tampering and fraud that it introduces. There is, however, no sinister plot to use the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters. There are many articles from credible sources stating that everything happening is the Postal Service's standard operating procedure. From USAToday: "Over the past decade, the U.S. Postal Service has removed an average of 3,258 mailboxes each year."
The media points out that Trump votes using an absentee ballot via USPS, but it's critical to differentiate between two types of mail ballots. The type Trump uses is specifically requested by the voter. The kind he is critical of is sent out unsolicited.
I planned to list various examples from across the country where Democrats and Republicans tampered with mail ballots in all types of races. Researching the topic resulted in 34-pages of cases. Contact me, and I will send you the links to the articles. (email@example.com.)
Then I received firsthand experience of the dangers of mail-in voting through an unsolicited opportunity to receive an absentee ballot. It illustrates one method of gaming the system.
Imagine my surprise when I checked my mail and found an application for an absentee ballot! Only the application wasn't in my name or anybody else's at my home. It turns out it was for the child of a prior resident. Her name is Brooke. The application and postage-paid return envelope had her full name and my address preprinted. They make it very easy.
Included are pictures of the application and the return envelope to show that it's real and what it looks like. I've redacted Brooke's middle and last names and the street address. I will keep specific details to a minimum.
(Photos courtesy Andy Bloom)
Before continuing, I must categorically state: Besides using the application to write this column, I took no further action. Voter fraud IS A FELONY; therefore, I would never try such a thing.
But if I wanted to, I would need Brooke's birthday and either Social Security, driver's license or state ID card number. Without any of the three, election officials would try to match the signature. With one, presumably, they do not.
With social media, it's easy to find most people's birthdays (something everybody should consider). Social media also filled in many gaps between when she lived here and the present. She hasn't voted from this address in at least the prior midterm or presidential elections, so it's hard to understand why an absentee ballot application is still sent to this address.
With the information I possessed, it took about $20 and less than 30 minutes to find a Social or DL number. With that, I had enough information to have a good chance of getting an absentee ballot – except I didn't try. It would be a felony. I don't think my children would like to visit me in prison.
At this point, the skeptics are thinking, "Big deal, you had one ballot, so what?" The research I did on voter fraud suggests that I would want to find a like-minded ballot or vote harvester. I suspect I know people who could point me in the right direction. If what I read (again and again) is correct, a ballot harvester would have many people working for them, and by Election Day would have from dozens to thousands of fraudulent ballots.
It's illegal, and some people do get indicted and prosecuted for attempting to influence an election fraudulently. Still, there's no question that it has happened throughout our election history – even without Russian help.
Coincidentally, just a couple of days after receiving Brooke's application for an absentee ballot, I was sent a Minnesota Voter Registration Application in my name. While I appreciate their efficiency, I thought it peculiar since my wife and I have voted in every election (including the off-year races for school board) since we moved here.
In addition to tampering, I'm concerned with what may happen with an overload of mail-in ballots. In New York's 12th Congressional District, in June, it took eight weeks to settle the Democratic primary for the U.S. House. Minnesota's 2008 U.S. Senate contest between incumbent Norm Coleman and challenger Al Franken took eight months to resolve. In that contest, absentee ballots were "found" in cars. An envelope with 133 ballots was lost (and never found). Absentee ballots became an issue of contention.
Imagine what could happen in a close nationwide election for president Nov. 3! The emphasis on voting by mail practically guarantees a protracted legal battle.
Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He is regarded as one of the leading radio programmers in the country. Andy served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio. For more information, his website is www.andybloom.com. Read Andy Bloom's Reports – Go Here Now.
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